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Half a Century to Replace Single-Lane Bridges

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Half a Century to Replace Single-Lane Bridges

Skeiðararsandur

From Skeiðarársandur, where the longest single-lane bridge is located. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Based on projected funding for coming years, it would take almost half a century to replace all single-lane bridges on Iceland’s Ring Road with double-lane ones, RÚV reports.

The Ring Road includes 39 single-lane bridges, most of them in Southeast Iceland. The longest one is the Skeiðará bridge (880 m, about half a mile), but in all likelihood, it will be replaced by a double-lane bridge sometime next year. In addition, four single-lane bridges in the vicinity of Djúpivogur, the East Fjords, and Hornafjörður, Southeast Iceland, will no longer be needed if a four-year transportation bill, under discussion in the Icelandic parliament, is approved, which recommends the building of new roads in those areas.

That leaves 34 single-lane bridges. In recent years, ISK 100 million (USD 866,000, EUR 775,000) has been allocated annually to replace them, an amount about to triple. The calculations of the Icelandic Road Administration, assuming ISK 300 million (USD 2.6 million, EUR 2.3 million) a year, do, however yield a surprising result: Replacing all those 34 bridges will take 48 years.

Óskar Örn Jónsson, head of the Road Administration’s operations, lamented, “To us, this is too long. It’s essential for us to get rid of those single-lane bridges.” In his opinion, that must be done to maximize safety.

In addition, there are numerous single-lane bridges outside the Ring Road. They are many more than those on the Ring Road.

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